Martin/Lessard and Binstock/Reader Olympic boundTORONTO (July 7, 2012) – Josh Binstock of Toronto and Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., as well as Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle Que., are Canada’s Olympic entries in beach volleyball.
The two pairs were the victors in men’s and women’s play on Saturday at the Olympic trials at Ashbridges Bay.
In the women’s showdown, Martin and Lessard defeated Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto 17-21, 21-12, 15-10.
"We feel a mixture of energy and relief, but our job is not yet done,’’ said Lessard. ‘’We are two relatively small players playing a big game, but we are ready for London. With a tough Olympic qualifier in Mexico, and a huge challenge today we are now ready to soar and surprise everyone in London."
Martin returns to the Games. She was fifth in 2004 with Guylaine Dumont of Quebec City.
"Our focus today was on quality, savoring every single moment, every play, every point,’’ she said. ‘’We stayed in the present and played the match moment by moment, not letting the "bigness" of it all affect us. ‘’
In the men’s final, Binstock and Reader defeated Christian Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton of Calgary 21-18, 21-14.
"I grew up here on the beaches, so I felt really comfortable playing at Ashbridges Bay, albeit in front of a much bigger crowd that I am used to,’’ said Binstock. ‘’We felt really supported today with the crowd behind us and playing in front of friends and family. This was amazing."
Reader said it was the pair’s best match of the year.
"We executed everything perfectly - our position serving, big blocks and great defense - and it worked,’’ he said. ‘’We have lots of preparation left to do in the next few weeks before heading to London - but we're ready. All we want to do now is to represent our country well and bring back some hardware.’’
Hugh Wong, Volleyball Canada’s president, was delighted with the spectacle he saw on Saturday.
‘’This is what the game of beach volleyball is all about - amazing athletes toughing it out for the biggest prize of them all - a spot at the Olympic Games. We congratulate all four teams which had combined forces two weeks ago to earn Canada its spots for London.’’